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Parable of the Soils Study #14: “The Answer is Blowin’ in The Wind!”

Why is The Holy Spirit’s Work in Salvation Shrouded in Such Mystery?

By Richard Allen – March 18, 2024

As we bring “The Parable of the Soils” to conclusion, I’m reminded of an album I received as a 10-year-old boy in 1962, pictured at the top of this blog. Like so many other children my age, I had fallen in love with the pop song, “Puff the Magic Dragon.” It was not only my introduction to the Folk Group, Peter, Paul and Mary, but was also my first real awareness of what I call “Protest Music.” Honestly, I believe that the whole album is memorable, many of the songs still humming in my head, including: Lemon Tree, If I Had A Hammer, If I Had My Way, 500 Miles and Where Have All The Flowers Gone. A few of the tunes were Love Songs like Lemon Tree, or childhood fantasies like Puff the Magic Dragon, but most of the songs at their core, were complaints against Social Injustice and Racial Discrimination. At the top of that category was Blowin’ in the Wind. Like this song, The Parable of the Soils has left us with unanswered questions. So, let me give Jesus’ answer: “The Answer is Blowin’ in the Wind!”

As we’ve seen in John Chapters 2 and 3, Jesus provides Nicodemus with insight as to why only one portion of Soil was receptive to the Seed of the Word, allowing it to germinate and grow in unfettered access, where moisture and sunlight will allow it to produce a bountiful crop. The one portion of Soil that Luke explains as “good soil,” or “a person with a good and honest heart” (Luke 8:15), had his heart prepared by the Plow of Regeneration, that is, the Holy Spirit.”  In The Parable of the Soils, Jesus alludes to Jeremiah’s Prophecy:

Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 4:3-4).

Jeremiah tells us that Preparation of the Soil was the same as Circumcision of the Heart, which in New Testament language speaks to Regeneration, that is, the New Birth! But the question is still hanging out there: “How and why does the Spirit only prepare the hearts of some men, and not others?” While we’d like to know more, much of this question is left unanswered in Scripture. Here’s how Paul explains God’s purpose of Salvation to the Romans:

“So, you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen” (Romans 9:18).

To some this is no answer at all, especially to those who plead that “God must be fair, that He has to give everyone a chance.” Sadly, that itself is an unbiblical response. To those of us who are well aware of our own depravity (fallenness), we would never ask God: “Give me what I have coming!” Or “give me what I’ve earned!”  No, if we are spiritually awake, we don’t want what we’ve earned, we want what someone else (Jesus Christ) has earned, and given to us freely. We would Never ask for God to be Fair. No, we want Amazing Grace – Unmerited Favor! If God is to save any, it Must Be By Grace and Not By our own Works or personal Righteousness!  In John 3:8 Jesus explains the work of the Spirit in Salvation without telling us, How or Why. Jesus nowhere tells us: “Here’s how you become born again. Modern Evangelists over the past several hundred years do tell us that we need to “ask Jesus into our hearts to be born again.” But nothing in Scripture supports this teaching. The answer Jesus provides never explains Conditions, or Why the New Birth happens. But He does explain, that it does happen, by the Sovereign will of God the Holy Spirit!  

Even so, Jesus’ answer is important to our study of the Parable of the Soils in that it ultimately explains why there are different responses to the Seed of the Word in each of the Soils.  We’ve already shown that The Parable of the Soils is referencing Jeremiah Chapter 4 and the New Birth. But for most of us, the Spirit’s work in applying the “Plow of Regeneration” to a man or woman’s heart is still shrouded in mystery. Jesus does give us a glimpse of the Spirit’s work, but His answer is basically: “Do you want to know how one man or woman is brought from death to life, from unbelief to believing of the Word?”  I’ll tell you: “The Answer is Blowin in the Wind!”  Here is Jesus’ mysterious explanation:

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit (John 3:8).

We’ve learned that as the Sower goes forth sowing the seed, some ground is receptive and other ground not. What makes the difference is the Spirit (Pneuma) of the Living God, blowing into one man’s life and “plowing up his heart” to make it receptive to the Word – yet that same Spirit (Pneuma) does nothing in another man’s barren heart, leaving him in his sin and unbelief!  One woman hears a Gospel presentation, or reads a Biblical Tract and has her heart stirred. She keeps searching through the Word of God until she finds faith and peace in trusting Jesus. But another woman hears the same Gospel presentation, or reads the same Biblical Tract and is turned off or mildly interested for a time, but eventually moves on to the busyness of life. Or she compromises and thinks that a quick “I accept You Jesus into my heart,” is all she needs, but bears no fruit. It’s the Pneuma (Wind), the Spirit of God Sovereignly making changes in some, and leaving others unchanged. The Pneuma (Spirit) blows where He pleases, and we see the changes that it makes in the lives of some and not in others – so is everyone who is Born of the Spirit! The answer is Blowin’ in the Wind! We cannot control the movement of the Wind any more than we can control the movement of God’s Spirit!

Some, hearing these truths will be disheartened and ask: “Then why should I witness or evangelize, if it’s not in my control to make the right arguments and persuade them to believe?” But that’s just the point. It’s not within our control, nor would we want it to be. We cannot, by our best efforts, Regenerate any other soul.  God alone gives New Life by the Holy Spirit! Anything we produce (i.e. that which is of flesh is flesh), will only produce a manmade convert, who cannot bear the heat of the Sun (persecution), nor will a manmade conversion withstand the “thorns and cares of this life.”  Only that which is “born of the Spirit is Spirit.” So – hearing that it is God alone by His Spirit who applies the “Plow of Regeneration” to the hearts of fallen, blinded and desperately wicked men and women – we should take heart and rejoice!  It’s not our persuasion, but God’s Imperishable Words of Life (I Peter 1:23) which can transform “hardened, rocky and thorn infested” hearts into Good Soil and produce the Harvest of Saving Faith! 

When we witness to another lost soul – it’s not in our own power or strength, but it is God who works in us, both to will and to do according to His own good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). As Fellow-Sowers of the Word with Jesus, we can confidently believe that “God’s Word will not return to Him barren,” but will produce a harvest of Righteous Faith and Godliness. It is belief in a Sovereign God, plowing up hearts to hear, see and believe the Gospel that propels us on to labor with Christ as fellow workers in His Harvest!  After Jesus witnessed to the Woman at the well in Samaria, the Spirit of God was active in stirring up the hearts of many Samaritans, whom the Spirit had drawn to Christ. He reminded His disciples that they were Sowers and Reapers in the Harvest with Him, even if they had doubted Jesus’ mission and purpose in Samaria. Here’s what our Lord said:

“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.  Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor. Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So, when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word” (John 4:35-41).

Let me close with a corollary passage to the Parable of the Sower – again, found in John’s Gospel, Chapter 1. In this passage the Apostle John reflects on Jesus’ ministry and how the seed of His Gospel had been unfruitful in the lives of most of those who heard Him. Those whom He had created, and even His fellow countrymen from the People of Israel, had no desire or interest in Him. But some did believe Him and accepted Him. To those Jesus gave the right to become Children of God All Because They Had Been Begotten with a New Birth That Came from God!

“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They received Him because they were reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but born from a birth that comes from God (John 1:10-13).

And this birth is from the Holy Spirit!

Soli Deo Gloria!

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Very very well explained. Thank You So Much

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